Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides, White Heath Aster
Scientific Name: Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides
Common Name: White Heath Aster
Also Called: White Aster and White Prairie Aster
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Aster ericoides, Aster exiguous, Aster multiflorus, Aster polycephalus, Lasallea ericoides, Symphyotrichum ericoides var. prostratum, Virgulus ericoides)
Duration: Perennial, rhizomes
Size: Up to 3 feet or more.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, herbaceaus Perennial; usually colonial, typically 1 stem with branchlets above, erect or ascending or (decumbent), branched, bushy, rough and covered with hairs (strigose).
Leaves: Green; alternate; lower leaves larger, rough, wither at bloom; upper stem leaves linear or lanceolate, progressively smaller, numerous, rigid, sessile, margins entire.
Flower Color: White showy; ray flowers white, disk flowers yellow, daisy-like flower heads are numerous small and densely clustered; 100 or more on top of the plant, typically on one side of the stem, loosely spaced branchlets; fruit is an achene with a tuft of white bristles.
Flowering Season: August to November, responds to summer monsoons.
Elevation: Above 3,500 feet.
Habitat Preferences: Various habitats across range, pastures, sunny or semi-sunny areas, dry or moist meadows, prairies, roadsides and rocky or sandy soils.
Recorded Range: This species is found primarily in the eastern half on the United States and Canada. Arizona represents the western most limits for White Heath Aster where it is found in the northern and southern parts of the state.
U.S. Weed Information: Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides is listed in: Weeds of Nebraska and the Great Plains. Plants included here may become weedy or invasive.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.
Wetland Indicator: Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides is listed on the USDA 2012 National Wetland Plant List.
Threatened/Endangered Information: The state of Tennessee has listed Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides, White Heath Aster as Threatened.
Symphyotrichum ericoides var. pansum, Manyflowered Aster and
Symphyotrichum ericoides var. ericoides, White Heath Aster.
Comments: White Heath Aster is a common aster that is very easy to identify once you know the plant. Variety ericoides is by far the widest spread variety and it is found throughout the entire range of the parent species. It is weedy in some areas, cultivated in others and designated with the protection status of threatened in Tennessee.
In Arizona, it can found in middle to upper elevations where it is usually associated with a reliable supply of moisture and is common especially along roadsides. It is a food and nectar source for a wide range of butterflies, bees and other insects.